Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick-or-Treat 2012

This year Henry wanted to dress up as a devil. But not just any costume would do. Oh, no. He was very, let's say particular, about how he needed to look. We spent 45 minutes surfing the internet for just the right costume and still didn't even come close.

I'll say this for Henry: the kid knows what he wants.

Finally, we were able to cobble together an ensemble from a cape a friend sent us; a shirt he already owned; pants from another friend; an old mask I had to scrub feathers from and then color with a red Sharpie marker; and horns we bought new but had to color black.

I think the results were pretty good, actually.

We dressed Silas in the bear costume Henry wore when he was three. It was a little big on him, since his birthday is several months later in the year than Henry's, but it worked.

I make the cutest little bears.

Silas wasn't clear on the whole concept of trick-or-treating. The first time a neighbor dropped a candy in his bucket, he said, "Uh-oh!" and took it out.

I had to convince him to leave the candy there.

We walked for blocks and blocks, and Silas kept up just fine. What a trooper.

My not-so-little devil.

My very little bear.

My two sweet boys.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update on Silas

Silas is growing up way too fast. It makes me wish I could have Henry at this age again, even just for an hour or two. I forget exactly what it felt like to hold him then; now he's all skinny arms and legs and pointy elbows and knees. So many good things about each age and stage, but so much to mourn as they grow, too.

Silas' speech has really picked up in the past few months. He's now saying many words, many of them pronounced incorrectly, which I absolutely adore.

Duck = truck (also similar for stuck, chalk & dog).
Gapes = grapes.
On-REE = Henry.
Vees = Venus (or any cat, really).
Boam = open.
Bone = phone.
Burr = cucumber.
Bees = strawberries.
Sauce = sausage.
Mis = nurse.
My = Mommy
Dack & Doughy = Jack & Zoe, the neighbor kids.

After a slow start, Silas is very interested in books. (Thank God, because I was beginning to despair of having a child who doesn't like books. The horror!) He's mostly interested in the books I find incredibly boring, however -- "My First Word Book," "My First Truck Book," "My First Pets Book," etc. He doesn't have a lot of patience for actual stories just yet. As my husband says, Silas is determined to figure things out.

Part of figuring things out is climbing up on chairs, opening the gate to the family room, pawing through the contents of the refrigerator, picking up every leaf outside, pulling out everything in my desk drawers, and pretty much making sure our house has that lived-in look.

But I guess that's just what toddlers do.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Silas at Eighteen Months (and One Day)

What can I tell you about Silas? He is little Mr. Sunshine, sweetness perrsonified. Sure, he's learned the word "no," and he's not afraid to use it, particularly when he's getting his diaper changed or being strapped into his carseat. But he also blows kisses, hugs people around their legs (includung an elderly woman at Sears -- it totally made her day), and brightly says "O-KHAY!" in response to every question.

His feet are (not so) little loaves of bread. His hair actually forms boing-boing curls in the back when it's humid outside. His eyes are bluer than blue. His thighs are chunky and oh-so-squishable. He's ticklish, particularly under his chin, and I love to hear him giggle. He reminds me of an Eloise Wilkins illustration.

He splashes in the bath with such enthusiasm that the entire floor gets soaked (and cries like his heart is breaking when it's time to get out). He's starting to bring us books to read (though his attention span isn't super long), and he laughed really hard the first time I read him Sandra Boynton's "Blue Hat, Green Hat" ("Blue hat, green hat, red hat, oops!"). When you ask him, "How big is Silas?" his arms automatically fly straight up over his head.

He is thrilled to play outside with the big kids, and so far his favorite things to do are throw and chase balls, and sit in the playhouse with Henry and the neighbor girls. He likes to hand people things -- while we're waiting for Henry to come out of school at the end of the day, he keeps himself busy picking up pebbles and giving them to all the moms.

He's getting braver with Venus, patting her occasionally but often touching her with a toy instead. But he's completely uninterested in dogs that pass by outside. (I may turn out to be the only one in the family who likes animals.)

He never really picked up any sign language, but he makes his needs known anyway. He's added a few words to his speech -- down, shoe, Daddy (dy-ee) and oh, man! He often mimics words or sounds with perfect inflection. And every time a phone rings (or he hears a noise that could be a phone ringing) he says, "Ha-woe!" So.damn.adorable.

Man, I love this age.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Journey to School, Part II

After my husband and I made the decision to send Henry to school, we needed to fill out a packet of paperwork. One of the sheets contained a list of questions and another asked us to write a paragraph about Henry. This is what we wrote:

What are your child's strengths? Creativity. Ability to grasp abstract concepts. Advanced vocabulary. Insatiable appetite for learning new things.

At this age, children are still learning to play cooperatively. Please tell about your child and how he/she plays. He prefers interacting with older children. He prefers creative and pretend play over structured games and sports.

What does your child like to do best at home? Art. Building. Pretending. Being read to.

How easily does your child separate from you? Individual parent separation is easy. He has had very little experience with separation from both parents. He says he does not want to go to school because he does not want to be without Mommy.

What situations might frustrate your child? In what ways does he respond to frustration? He is sometimes unable to realize visions without adult interaction, which isn’t always available. He seeks attention often and has a need to share every observation. When someone says something he does not want to hear, he covers his ears and shuts down.

Does your child have any special fears or has he had any significant traumatic experiences? Please explain: No traumatic experiences. Sensitive to sad, fearful, perilous or otherwise tense situations in books and videos. Also terrified of dogs, even obviously gentle ones, though he has never had a bad experience with one.

For what is your child most often disciplined? What is the most effective method of disciplining your child? Verbal defiance. Refusal to cooperate. Discipline is verbal only and does not include physical punishment or solitary “time-outs.” We often reprimand him and wait for him to comply or make amends. We also try to use appropriate consequences for poor behavior.

Describe any additional behaviors that are of concern to you: Despite the desire to learn, he’s against the idea of school. He often won't take part in group activities; for instance, instead of doing the project in art class he will make up his own crafts.

Have there been any changes in your family situation recently (i.e. illness, change in family structure, move, etc)? Birth of younger brother in November 2010.

Have you noticed any reaction in your child? Please explain. He does not like to discuss it or be told that he’ll appreciate it one day. Verbal negativity notwithstanding, his actions toward his baby brother are appropriate and safe.

In what ways do you anticipate that your child will react to school routines and expectations? Do you foresee any areas of concern (i.e. occasional tantrums, anxiety, extreme shyness, restlessness, etc.)? We anticipate a tough transition. He has been encouraged to be independent and learning has been self-directed, with no expectation of joining group activities or doing any specific schoolwork.

What else would you like your child's teacher to know about your child? He has food intolerances to wheat/gluten and corn and we would like to be notified if food will be served in the classroom.

Henry's birthday is August 3, 2005. He has a younger brother Silas (3.5 months old) and three older half-siblings -- Harrison (22), Simon (20) and Madeleine (17). He doesn't see his older brothers often but spends time with Madeleine, who has Down Syndrome, every other weekend. For the most part he gets along well with all his siblings, though he was not happy about becoming a big brother and does not like to talk about it.

Henry has the typical territorial tendencies and can be very protective of everything his. He likes to save scraps of anything he can find for use in a future "project." Creating and pretending are some of his favorite activities. Henry's strength is his ability to grasp subtle and deep concepts. He has received a lot of attention from both parents so far.

His mother is a stay-at-home-mom and has a high level of interaction with him. She reads to him often and they have a ritual of reading a few chapters out of a chapter book every night before bed. They are currently working through the "Little House" series. His father is an engineer and musician and often discusses scientific concepts with him.

We have concerns with Henry's transition to school life, namely his learning to follow directions promptly and exactly as given, to do things in a group setting and to do activities he may not be interested in doing. Our expectations are that he be given opportunities and directions for learning and socialization, as we think he may have outgrown such opportunities in the home environment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stand Off

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

There, There

I forgot to mention in my previous post that Silas has been saying one other "word" (actually two words) for some time before his language explosion. It's "Ah know," as in, "There, there, I know, little one." Apparently I say it so much to him that he started, sometime in the last several months, to say it himself.

One morning after a particularly bad night's sleep I was complaining to my friend Michelle about how crappy I felt. From the stroller Silas piped up, "Ah know." Michelle burst out laughing and said, "'I know, Mommy, you're tired.'"

Thanks for the sympathy, Bubby.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Talk Talk Talk

Silas' language has exploded in the past week or two. He has started saying "hi," "bye-bye," "Mom," "night-night" and "yeah" (which, adorably, sounds more like "yee-uh").

Okay, maybe that isn't actually an explosion of language. But for many months his only real word was "uh-oh," so to hear him answer "yuh" when asked if he wants to nurse or call "MomMomMomMom" while hanging on the kitchen gate is just...well, I have no words.

Luckily, Silas has a few. Yee-uh, he does.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Music Lover


Silas started walking yesterday! He's been cruising along furniture and standing unassisted for a while, but he actually took his first steps yesterday evening. Of course, I am with this boy 90% of the time and I MISSED it (I was in the shower), but I saw him do it again this morning.

It's so fun to see all these firsts, all over again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tri Grdeining

Henry has been making me cards lately, and they're even more wonderful now that he can (mostly) write. I had been telling him that I need to start planning my garden, so he made me a card that said, "When there's nothing to do try gardening."

"When there's nothing to do." Ha! Funny boy.

The Journey to School, Part I

Exactly one year ago today, Henry started attending school.

After my husband returned to work six weeks after the birth of Silas, things fell apart a little. Silas is and was pretty easy, but Henry can be needy and very loud (we never realized how much he talks nor how loudly until we had a baby in the house). I could not get the baby settled down to sleep with Henry jumping around and making noise. So...I found myself actually encouraging him to watch television.

I felt bad that we went from a TV-free household to one in which I was telling my kid to go watch a video so I could get some peace. At the same time, I was too tired and overwhelmed to take him to museums, homeschool playgroups, or on many other outings. We did continue to go to his art class at the rec center and to storytime at a local library, but I started finding these outings more and more tiresome. Henry was definitely the oldest child in both groups and I was feeling as though he needed more than these activities were offering him.

And, truth be told, I was tired of feeling like an oddity. An unschooling friend of mine kept telling me to "find my people," but really, I'm an introvert. I don't want to find people, mine or otherwise. I want to stay home and drink coffee. I began feeling like I was devoting my life to Henry.

Don't get me wrong, I love him to pieces. I love being his mom. I love attachment parenting and I still believe in it. I still think unschooling, in an ideal world where "your people" are around you and not off at work and school all day, is a wonderful philosophy. But I also started to think that maybe school wouldn't be so bad. We live in one of the best school districts in the state and I'm not just talking test scores. The parents are very involved and the teachers are dedicated.

I still also love Alfie Kohn's philosophy of not punishing or rewarding, and instead modeling good behavior and letting children eventually learn to do the right thing on his or her own. But believing in it and living it are two different things, and I began to think that maybe it wouldn't be so bad for Henry to do things just because we tell him to, or to have a little respect for authority and realize that he is not always in charge.

So my husband and I began talking about the possibility of sending Henry to school.

We went to the school's science fair and saw the neighbor’s entry. We went on a tour and were pretty impressed with what we saw. Henry seemed intrigued, but of course, he wouldn’t say he wanted to go. He said didn’t want to leave me. I think that was his biggest fear. But we decided it would be for the best, for now, to have him go to school. And rather than have him start out in first grade in the fall, which would be all day and involve him eating lunch at school, we opted to have him begin in the spring of senior kindergarten, when we had the option of him going only three hours in the morning.

Monday, February 27, 2012


We have quite the ridiculous co-sleeping set-up in our bedroom. It consists of a twin bed against the wall (where Silas & I sleep), another twin bed (where Henry sleeps) and a queen-sized bed where my husband sleeps.

There's a bedrail in between the two twin mattresses to keep Henry from migrating over and lying all over me. (It's enough that I have to deal with Silas hogging my space; I don't think my back could take two barnacle children.)

However, this doesn't keep Henry from pressing himself right.up.against.the.bedrail, or from hanging his head around the end of it.

That's my view when I look to my right. (The blue thing is the bedrail, by the way.)

Here's the view to my left:

They're never sweeter than when they're sleeping.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Child's Hair...

It defies gravity!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I've been a bad, bad mommy blogger. Silas is growing so fast and I'm not getting it all down here the way I did for Henry. Poor second child.

So, without further ado, here's my attempt to catch up.

Silas turned one (two months ago!) and at his check up on December 1st he was 21 pounds (29th percentile) and 31 inches tall (82nd percentile).

At fourteen months (in two days) he's not yet walking, not really signing (he seems to do "milk" occasionally, but not with any regularity), not eating much beyond some banana and liver sausage and not sleeping through the night (which surprises me not at all).

What is he doing? Smiling, chattering, being mischevious, snuggling, plunking the piano keys, saying "uh oh!" and "Gg-gg!" (when he sees our cat, who I call a "good girl"), giving big open-mouthed kisses, pressing various items to his head until I say, "Is it a hat?" and then giggling, squealing with laughter when I tie his (actual) hat under his chin, playing nicely by himself for five minutes or more at a time (when he's well rested), and basically being a complete joy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Way back before Silas was born, I started thinking about letting Henry watch a little television here and there. You know, educational videos, to further his interests and supplement our homeschooling.

So when Silas arrived and we were desperate for Henry to be quietly occupied, he and his dad sat down together and pulled up a children's science show called Beakman's World on Netflix. For the first ten minutes it was nothing but camp: people in costumes, joke-telling, just plain silliness. Henry said, "Why aren't they trying to teach me anything?"

They shut it off and instead my husband introduced Henry to Carl Sagan's Cosmos. God, I love that kid.

From there, though, it started to go downhill, particularly after my husband returned to work. Henry is very needy and fairly loud (we never realized how much he talks nor how loudly until we had a baby in the house). I could not get Silas settled down to sleep with Henry jumping around and making noise.

So...I introduced him to Kipper. And Dora the Explorer. And Blue's Clues. Essentially all the videos he would have been watching as a two-year old, had he watched TV then. He was still really sensitive to anything the least bit intense or scary so options were limited.

I'm happy to report, though, that Henry's viewing preferences have swung back around to documentaries -- anything by Nova or the History Channel or Discovery Channel or PBS. It's amazing to see him soaking up information from shows intended for someone much, much older. He really loves to learn.

Of course, he has also somehow (*cough* my husband *cough*) become interested in Godzilla and is working his way through every Godzilla movie ever made. I guess not everything has to be cerebral. Or good.